Oxford scientists also develop rapid testing technology for COVID-19

Oxford scientists also develop rapid testing technology for COVID-19

Scientists from Oxford University have developed a rapid test for COVID-19. It takes just half an hour to get the result.

Image credits: Oxford University.

Oxford University has become the latest research group to develop its own testing kit for COVID-19. University of Oxford’s Engineering Science Department and the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research have worked together to develop the rapid test, which they claim is also more sensitive than most existing options — meaning it can also detect low levels of infection.

The technology uses a simple heat-block to detect RNA fragments and can be read easily with the naked eye, making it suitable for remote or rural areas.

‘The beauty of this new test lies in the design of the viral detection that can specifically recognise SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RNA and RNA fragments. The test has built-in checks to prevent false positives or negatives and the results have been highly accurate.’

The technology has already been tested with real samples at the LuoHou hospital in Shenzen, China. The test has been applied to 16 clinic samples and was successful in detecting both the positives and the negatives.

The team is now working to run more clinical validations, and developing a system for easy deployment in public places (such as airports or clinics) or even homes.

There is still very much we don’t know about the COVID-19 outbreak and the lack of sufficient tests means we don’t really have accurate data. In turn, this means we don’t know how many people are really infected, how many are asymptomatic, and how much the epidemic has progressed.

The more reliable tests we have, the better — and this is where tests such as the one from Oxford come in handy.

‘I am proud of our team that have developed a useful technology and can make a contribution in combating CoV-19, and we are very grateful to the hospital’s medical team led by Dr. Xizhou Sun, Dr Xiuming Zhang and Dr Dan Xiong for their part in testing this new technology.’

To keep tracking developments in the outbreak, follow our constantly updated page.

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